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The long, difficult road to justice for mothers of 2 missing UP students

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The long, difficult road to justice for mothers of 2 missing UP students

 “While we commend the courage of the mothers of Karen and Sherlyn, now human rights defenders themselves, in pursuing the criminal case, it is equally significant that the Aquino government must take concrete steps in making the roads to justice accessible for the victims and their families.” – Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development

MANILA – Mrs. Concepcion Empeño’s eyes looked tired but she was smiling at supporters.
As usual, she left Masinloc, Zambales at midnight to make it to the hearing at the Department of Justice (DOJ). By 6 p.m. of the same day, she has to travel back to their home. She gets there by 12 midnight and has to wake up early the next day to go to work. She is a principal of an elementary school.

This has been her weekly routine since the start of the hearings on the criminal complaint she and Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan filed against military officials linked to the abduction of their daughters Karen and Sherlyn.
“This is tiring but we cannot stop now. Physically, it is taxing, and financially too, but we could not give up until we find justice,” Mrs. Empeño, now 60 years old, told Bulatlat.com after a hearing on Sept. 7.
To get to Manila, Mrs. Empeño needs to shell out P1,000 for food and transportation. The family has meager income, with her husband Oscar tending poultry.

The same goes true for Mrs. Cadapan. “Honestly, I am very tired but this has to be done. We need to obtain justice. They have to surface my daughter and the perpetrators should be punished,” she said.

To be able to attend the hearings, Mrs. Cadapan stopped her backyard mushroom production, the family’s means of livelihood for years. She admitted that there were times she had no money for transportation and food but she constantly gets support from her children and her colleagues.

Karen, Sherlyn and farmer Manuel Merino were abducted by state security forces on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan.

Five years of searching

Both mothers searched military camps, morgues and funeral parlors to look for their daughters.

They filed all kinds of petition before the courts. As early as July 17, 2006, the parents of the two students filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus at the Court of Appeals but the said petition was dismissed on March 29, 2007 on the basis of the military’s denial of custody of Sherlyn and Karen. On October 24 of the same year, Mrs. Empeño and Mrs. Cadapan filed a petition for a writ of amparo. The Court of Appeals then granted the said writ but the UP students remain missing..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/09/09/the-long-difficult-road-to-justice-for-mothers-of-2-missing-up-students/


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